Government ‘not mandating face masks in pubs’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government rule: face masks will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets later this month
Government rule: face masks will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets later this month

Related tags Training Coronavirus Health and safety Hygiene + cleaning

Face masks will not be made compulsory in pubs, environment secretary George Eustice has confirmed.

Eustice's clarification follows the announcement that face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July. They are also compulsory currently on public transport and NHS settings.

Eustice told Sky News​: “We are not mandating the wearing of masks in pubs and restaurants because obviously people have got to eat.”

He added that he suspected “a lot more people” will wear masks following the announcement although face coverings will be compulsory in shops and supermarkets from next Friday and failure to do so could see fines of up to £100 being issued.

Right thing

Operators have outlined their views on staff wearing face masks​ and the positive feedback from customers.

Bath Pub Company managing director Joe Cussens told The Morning Advertiser​: “We think it is the right thing to do. We are going to review it [this week] but for now, what it says is that it shows you're taking the subject seriously.

“If you'd asked me six months ago, the idea of my staff serving customers with face masks I would have laughed you out of the building and said never in a million years it sends completely the wrong message.

“Actually, given the time we are in, it is the right thing and weirdly customers find it reassuring in the world we are in.”

New world

Licensee of Hampshire pub Inn on the Beach in Hayling Island, Mark Thornhill has given staff the option to wear a cloth or disposable face mask or a shield and have mainly chosen for the coverings.

Thornhill, who runs the pub with his wife Penny, said: “People are used to it and it's not something strange. It's a whole new world. We just have to be so careful and everyone understands that.” 

The World Health Organisation advised non-medical face coverings should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible.

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